Sunday, 29 December 2013

The joys of walking

I’ve started walking again.

I don’t mean I’ve suddenly gained the ability to walk – I never lost it. What I mean is I’ve started walking for exercise, something I used to do a lot but let fall by the wayside, like many interests and pleasures I’ve had over the years.

Actually, I’m a bit superstitious about even mentioning the walking, afraid I’ll instantly lose interest, like I did with this blog.

It was our new dog that made me start again. Her name is Pyper and she’s a borderline sociopath of the canine variety. I’m sure you know the type – absolutely adorable, very intelligent, but behind the façade is a complete nutter capable of ridiculous actions, such as ploughing a tunnel through the snow using only her head, and feats of destructiveness that defy description. I swear, she’s the dog responsible for putting the word “spring” into English Springer Spaniel. She is constantly bouncing through the air, like the canine equivalent of Tigger. She can also stand on her hind legs for long periods of time, just like a giant-sized prairie dog. It’s how she sees above the high weeds in our hay field.

There are lots of things I can complain about when it comes to Pyper, her biggest fault being her unending supply of energy – thus the need for twice daily high intensity nature walks, including a stop by the creek so she can wade and swim in the water (even in winter). She also has an oral fixation involving sticks that borders on the pornographic. The longer the stick, the better, as long as she can get her jaws around it. And she takes great pleasure in gripping it by one end and then running full speed right at you, veering at the last minute so the stick bangs against your ankles or into the back of your knees.

Pyper with a softer tool - a corn stalk

Take it from someone who has the scrapes and bruises of experience – it hurts like hell. There’s only so much of that game I can take before I lose my temper and grab the stick from her mouth, snapping it over my knee into smaller lengths in hopes of saving my shins. The shorter sticks only keep her amused for a minute or two; then she goes in search of another long stick and the cycle continues. And if the stick is a big one that I can’t break easily (in other words, a log), I’m forced to carry the damn thing until I can dispose of it when she’s not looking.

I’m not sure if the walks have been helping Pyper but they have certainly been helping me. I enjoy the quiet and solitude. It helps me think and I write and compose blogs and articles in my head as I walk. But I learned the hard way I need to do these walks with only the dog for company. One of the Goobers decided to come with me one evening and it almost killed me. She just kept talking and talking and talking. Even after I told her I like the quiet, she kept on nattering. I’m all for communication but stream of consciousness talking drives me batty. Now I sneak out of the house quickly, hoping no one will see me heading for the backfield. And solitude – until the first stab in the ankle or shin.

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